Psychiatric Epidemiology - Northern Finland Birth Cohort studies 1966 and 1986

Research group information

Contact information

Research group leader

Research group description

The research group investigates different topics relating to psychiatric epidemiology. The research topics include for instance risk and outcome research on psychosis, depression and alcohol use. Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders are a major public health problem and leading unsolved disease afflicting about 3-4 % of the population. In Finland, the prevalence of any psychotic disorder is even higher; 4.5 %. Schizophrenia is a complex genetic disorder manifesting combined environmental and genetic causation. To date, the candidate risk factors include e.g. advanced paternal age, obstetric complications, cannabis use, motor dysfunction, urbanicity, and low IQ. Data from Northern Finland birth cohorts have underpinned many of these key findings. Depression is major public health concern and affect about 10% of population. Rick factors include various biological and social factors, personality and life events. The team investigates also psychosocial factors on cancer and effect of temperament on physical and mental health. The team has long experience in epidemiology and access to unique data sets, the findings are likely to have both clinical and public health influence.

Group leader

Jouko Miettunen, PhD, is a professor of clinical epidemiology working mainly on psychiatric and psychological topics in the Northern Finland Birth Cohort studies. He has experience from several national and international projects relating to life course epidemiology. His background is in statistics and epidemiology. He has over 300 publications, especially on schizophrenia, temperament and medical statistics.

Our team

Where are we headed

The Northern Finland birth cohorts offer unique possibilities to study risk factors, time trends and interactions in risk factors for psychoses and depression in comparable samples. The studies utilizing the longitudinal design and unselected sample are likely to produce new information on the risk factors of psychiatric disorders.

Research funding

  • Academy of Finland
  • Juho Vainio Foundation

Our main collaborators

  • Erika Jääskeläinen, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
  • Peter Jones, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
  • Graham Murray, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
  • John McGrath, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
  • Solja Niemelä, University of Turku, Turku, Finland
  • Leena Ala-Mursula, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland

How to find us

Research Unit of Population Health, PO Box 5000, 90014 University of Oulu